It's odd how time fly's by. Just felt like the other day that I was sitting in a high school classroom goofing off and up to no good. Its even crazier to think that one year ago the 26th, I lost one of the most important parts of my life. The day that my grandma died I can remember everything almost so clearly, it was like a nightmare happened. Although we were expecting it to happen, I still wasn't quite ready for it. I was sitting in Coach Hoots class when I got the text from my brother that she had passed on to heaven. Coach Hoots, being the awesome guy that he is, walked me outside and said a prayer with me. I believe everyday that God wanted me in that class when she passed away, because God knew that I needed a prayer when I found out the news. I wouldn't have ever thought to have prayed honestly. When he said that prayer with me, I had a warm feeling in my heart that everything was okay. I had been so scared that I was going to lose myself, go into depression and change completely. After he said that prayer I went to my car and drove in the pouring rain to Yadkin Medical Hospital, walked in and saw her lifeless body. In that moment, I felt a sense of relief, a sense of happiness for her. She wasn't struggling anymore, she wasn't struggling with swollen feet, or weakness, or diabetes or aspiration. She was at peace, she was freed from the bondage of sickness. I remember a voice in the back of my head that said "Tanner, if she's at peace, why can't you be?" I swear everyday I know that was Heavenly Father, that was also a confirmation that she was okay, she was looking down on me smiling because she was out of pain and agony. This past year I had a lot of reflecting to do on my life, the mistakes, the good and the bad. But one thing I always took for granted is having my grandma around, and I wish I didn't. There is a lot of things I wish I can tell her today, thank her for the things she did for me, the life lessons that she has taught me and just for being the great christian woman that she was. That example I will carry on for the rest of my life. I was one of the lucky ones, still am honestly, but since she has passed away I have come to realize the importance of family. I have come to cherish my relationship with all the living family I have. It's so good to know that I have a strong relationship with my mom, my grandpa, my dad, my brothers and sisters and even my step family. These are the people that have my back no matter what happens, these are the people who love me unconditionally. Just like my grandma always told me "Your family will always be the center of happiness." If I could replay my life, I would go back and spend more time with the family I haven't seen as much, or that I haven't given as much attention to. My Mamma Kay, if I had a do over I would have spent more time in the nursing home with her before she got so far into alzhiemers, she did a lot for me growing up, matter of a fact she did a lot for all her grandchildren, I was just too young to care. Point is, now that I have lost someone so close to me that i have spent a lot of time with, I just want all my family to know that I love them, and that you guys mean the world to me. I know this mission isn't what was in store when I was first born, I know we have different religious beliefs and that I am thousands of miles away from home with no means of contact besides one letter and email a week, but you guys are my family. Mom, grandpa, Dad, Pam, Travis, Jessica, Riley, Karley, Michael, Cody, Deanna, Sarah, Matt, Dylan, Mamma Kay, Tara. You guys are my family, and I am so glad I have your support. My grandma is in heaven, and I want to say that although its been a year, it just feels like yesterday you went on. Keep watching down over all of us and just know I love you!
This week was fun! We had a general authority come speak to us. His name is Elder Mervyn B. Arnold. Man was he a fun guy to listen to speak! He taught a lot of us how to become better more improved missionaries. The more that he talked, the more I felt the spirit. I felt compelled to sit near the back for some reason, and I made the mistake of sitting right beside some guy that loved to talk. He asked me about myself and I told him about being a convert and so on. Elder Arnold was speaking about the importance of finding the elect and how it cant affect the future family of a convert. The guy beside me stood up, and goes "Elder Hutchens here is a convert, he is starting a new generation when he goes home. Darn, I just had an ackward shout out. Then Elder Arnold told me to stand up and share my conversion story. In front of literally half the mission I stood up, red in the face, and started talking about how I came to know the church and my future plans to have children and get married in the temple. Well if that wasn't enough, he called on me 15 minutes later to walk up to the front and stand there in front of all the missionaries. (I am almost positive that my face was the color of my hair at this point) He asked me questions like, "What if these missionaries didn't find you?" "Did you understand the importance of baptism whenever you were days away from your baptism." I despise that Elder that called me out, because I stood up there for what felt like 10 minutes just talking. And I hate public speaking. Overall, Elder Arnold's visit here in the WKM was an awesome one. He taught us a lot and really showed me how to become a better missionary. Showed me that I have a lot to work on also.
This is the week of Alan Jones's baptism. He has been coming to church the last two weeks and he really enjoys it! I am so excited for him, and I am so excited to have been an instrument in the hands of The Lord in finding Alan and bringing him back to The Lord's Kingdom. He has asked me to baptize him, and I feel absolutely honored to do it. I guess its only appropriate if the North Carolina hillbilly baptizes the North Carolina hillbilly :) But pray us and him as he enters the waters of baptism!
Happy Thanksgiving guys, we have like oh I don't know...5 dinners Thursday so lets hope I don't put on too much weight. You guys have a great holiday and I love you guys! I have a lot to be thankful for, we all do. Just remember to count your blessing and tell someone that you are thankful for that you love them.